5 Things I Learned in Culinary School
The answer is always “Yes chef!”
Don’t ever try to make excuses or tell them that another chef told you something different. Just say “yes, chef” and fix it. Every chef has their way of doing things, and their way is the right way.
Always ask why. But not in the obnoxious way.
Knowing the reason behind why you are doing something is extremely helpful. It shows you are trying to learn and that you take initiative. I’ve had two different chefs now that love to ask rhetorical questions. One would yell “why are you doing that?” in his loud German accent to scare you. The best answer was to explain your thought process. He would stare you down for a second, and then say “okay” and continue on. If you understand why, you learn more.
Compete with your peers and classmates.
I’ve never considered myself a competitive person. I love challenging myself, but I had challenging other people. But I quickly learned that competing in the kitchen is the best way to get better. Challenge your classmates to speed tests (emincer an onion, torn a potato, fillet a fish, etc) One of the best things a chef told me is to find the person or people that are better than you and challenge yourself to beat them. You can compete with people and still be a team. The better everyone is as individuals, the better the team is.
Seasoning is everything.
I learned within the first week at culinary school how much French chefs love salt. I thought I liked my food salty until I went to culinary school. We added a “french pinch” to everything we cooked which was three times the size of my normal pinch of salt. Food tastes so much better with the right amount of salt. And seasoning throughout the cooking process rather than right at the end ensures everything is seasoned properly, and you end up adding less salt overall.
Work smarter, not harder.
A sense of urgency is essential in a kitchen. You have to work quickly, but you also have to work efficiently. Running around like a chicken with your head cut off gets you nowhere except in the shits.